Two are Halves of One

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“Hello? Earth to Emma!”

Emma zoned back in to the real world, refocusing on her twin sister across from her and their friends seated around the dining hall table. “Where the hell have you been for the past five minutes? We’re trying to figure out which show to hit tonight.” Rachel, her twin, was staring at her expectantly, waiting for her to cast the deciding vote.

Emma flushed hot; she couldn’t tell the table where her mind had been – where it seemed to drift more often than not these days. “I-I wouldn’t mind hitting up Jack Rabbit Tim’s. We went to Wild West the last two times.” Emma hadn’t heard which bands were playing, but there were only two venues in town with regular live music. She was relieved to see that Rachel seemed pleased enough with her choice.

“Tim’s it is! Kate, we’ll pick you up at nine, yeah?” Rachel stood, and the rest of the table gathered their trays and made their way toward the door as if that was their cue.

Emma glanced down at her watch. Almost one? It seemed like they’d just sat down. She must have tuned out worse than she thought. Rachel picked up Emma’s bag for her, dropping it on her shoulder atop her own satchel. “You feelin’ ok, Em?”

“Yeah. Just…tired.” Emma tried to avoid her sister’s eyes, but Rachel was like a dog with a bone when she thought something was up with her twin. Older by two minutes, Rachel believed her “baby” sister was her responsibility.

They emerged from the dining hall arm-in-arm and almost ran headlong into Dean and Carter Moore – the only other set of twins on campus. The boys and Rachel laughed, greeting amiably; Emma ducked her head, her cheeks burning with a raging blush. As they passed the boys and speed-walked toward the art building, Rachel’s fingers dug into Emma’s arm.

“What was that? Did something happen between you and Hot Stuffs one and two?” Rachel asked.

Emma just shook her head. What could she say?


Rachel and Emma shared a one-bedroom apartment. There was nothing new about that; they’d shared a room their entire lives. But it did make it difficult for Emma to escape her sister’s rabid curiosity that evening when they both got home from classes and work. Emma did her best, setting an in-progress landscape on her easel in one corner and jamming earbuds in her ears, but Rachel was having none of her evasions.

“Are you gonna tell me what was up with you and the Moores, or am I gonna have to ask them?” she asked without preamble. She sat on Emma’s desk, a bowl of microwave popcorn in her lap. She stuffed a handful in her mouth and chewed loudly.

“It’s nothing, Rach. And anyway, they wouldn’t know what you’re talking about.”

“So tell me why you decided to go red-faced super-creep on them today.”

Emma dunked her bamboo brush in her water cup more forcefully than she meant to, splashing water over the desk. Rachel ignored the puddle creeping toward her, watching her sister and waiting for an explanation.

“I can’t really explain it,” Emma said at last. “I think I may be losing my mind.”

Laughing, Rachel said, “I think that ship has sailed. What, do you have a crush on one of them?” When Emma didn’t answer, her twin persisted. “You do, don’t you! Which one?”

“Rachel, just leave it.”

“I don’t get what the big deal is. We’ve had a standing invitation to go out with them since, like, freshman orientation.”

“It’s…” Emma sighed. “Please just drop it.”

Rachel chunked a piece of popcorn at her sister, where it stuck to her curly hair. “Not until you tell me which of those meatheads you’re lusting after.”

Emma studiously ignored her, dripping some purple paint on the carpet as she turned back to her watercolor landscape. If her sister knew the dark turn her thoughts had taken, she’d never speak to her again. Better to have Rachel mad at her for keeping secrets and leave it at that.

“It’s Dean, isn’t it? He’s always been the cuter one, even if he is a little shorter. There’s something a little freaky about Carter’s eyes. I know they’re green, too, but sometimes it looks like they don’t have any color at all.”

Emma made a little choking noise in her throat, and Rachel laughed. “So it’s Carter, is it? You like those eyes?”

Refusing to rise to the bait, Emma kept her eyes on her painting. Rachel, seeing that she would get nowhere with her questioning, snatched the watercolor off the easel.

“Hey!” Emma shouted, grabbing for her artwork. “Give that back!”

Rachel clambered up onto the top bunk, waving the painting. “Tell me which one you like! Tell me!”

“Give me the-” Emma cut off her own words as she leaped and bellyflopped onto the upper mattress, reaching for the paper in her sister’s hands. Rachel held her at arm’s length, the painting hidden behind her. Emma threw herself at her sister, trying to wrestle the painting away without tearing it. They rolled precariously close to the edge as they struggled.

“Stop, stop!” Rachel said as Emma started to pull her hair. She’d always been a wimp about her sensitive scalp. “I will give it back, kocaeli escort bayan if you will just tell me! Which one do you like?”

“Both of them!” Emma shouted at last. “I want them both, ok?”

Rachel stopped struggling, cocking her head to the side the way she did when she was puzzled. “You mean, you can’t decide, or…?”

Blushing furiously again, Emma abandoned her quest to retrieve the painting and slid off the bunk. She rolled onto her own bed underneath it, turning so she could press her hot face against the cool wall. To her chagrin, Rachel followed, sitting down beside her on the lower bunk.

“Wait, clarify this for me. You want them?”

Emma pulled her pillow over her head. How could she possibly put into words the fantasies she’d been having? Her sister would never understand this bizarre desire to have Carter holding her in his arms, Dean pressed up behind her, their warm skin-

“Like, at the same time, Emma?” There was something odd about Rachel’s tone. It didn’t hold the condemnation Emma had expected from her sister. In fact, she sounded almost… excited. Emma rolled over, noting with confusion the mischievous glitter in her twin’s eyes.

“Look, can you just leave me to wallow in my own sick mind?”

Rachel shrugged. “Sure. But then who will help you seduce the Moore twins?”

Emma inhaled too sharply and dissolved into a fit of coughing. She had not expected Rachel to adopt this idea, make it one of her projects. This wasn’t like scheming against their parents to sneak out late or get permission to dye their hair. Nevertheless, the thought of having her sister on her side held a certain appeal for Emma.

She’d felt terribly alone in her secret since this dark obsession had started to form a few weeks back. Emma had always found the Moores attractive, but she’d declined their multiple invitations to go out because she knew Rachel had no interest in them, or in being the novelty couple-pair that two sets of twins would make.

She’d been excited to see them at her friend Wilson’s black light party several weeks ago. Rachel played beer pong in the back yard, leaving Emma in the kitchen with a couple of their girlfriends. Emma had spotted the Moores flirting with a pair of girls who were obviously overwhelmed by the two hot guys who could finish each other’s sentences. About halfway through the conversation, Dean and Carter had exchanged a look, and they’d smoothly swapped the girls they were talking to, continuing each other’s conversations as seamlessly as if they were the same person.

Emma had been totally fascinated. She and Rachel were as different as night and day, and they’d never experienced any of the rumored twin super-empathy. She wondered if the boys practiced to be so smooth.

Later that same night, when she’d run into them dancing in the crush of bodies in Wilson’s living room, somehow she’d ended up between them, her hands in the air as the whole room seemed to move to the same rhythm. Carter’s hands were on her waist, his eyes on hers; at the same time, she was supremely conscious of Dean’s strong chest against her back. She would have frozen that moment forever if she could.

Rachel got into some sort of drama with another girl, and she’d grabbed Emma and insisted that they bail. Since that night, Emma had had intense, highly distracting daydreams about that dance, and it had gradually progressed into a fantasy that simultaneously captivated and shamed her.

“I wouldn’t even know where to begin,” Emma said, eyeing Rachel, who was grinning and bustling purposefully about the room to put the painting back on the easel and fetch her snack. “And anyway, who has the time? I’ve got to focus on this capstone project or I’m totally screwed in the spring.”

Rachel grabbed her sister by the hands and pulled her to her feet, spinning her around like they were children again. “I have the time,” Rachel said in a sing-song voice. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe how long I’ve been waiting for you to finally get laid!”


“What? We swore we were both going to lose it at prom. You’re way behind, little sister.”

Emma rolled her eyes, most of her discomfort gone now. “Maybe you’re just way ahead, you maneater.”

Rachel licked her lips dramatically, waggling her eyebrows. “Seriously, though, when are you going to jump on the tasty twins?”

“Jesus, Rachel. I’ve barely spoken to them outside of a couple classes. I’m not going to jump on them.”

“Because they seem like they’d be down with it. You know, if you could bring it up in a way that didn’t totally freak them out,” Rachel continued as if she hadn’t heard her twin. “They’re so… in sync, you know? It’s weird. Man… I wonder if they’ve been with the same girl before?”

“Please don’t pursue that train of thought any farther. I don’t want to think about it.”

Rachel laughed. “Yes you do. You just don’t want to think about them doing it with someone else.” The older girl blew a piece of hair out of her face, then swept all her bobbed curls back into a ponytail. “First things kocaeli sınırsız escort first, we’re going to have to go out with them.”

“We? I thought you had no interest in them?” The barest edge of jealousy crept into Emma’s voice, surprising her. How could she be jealous about two guys who she had no real ties to?

If Rachel heard it though, she ignored it. “I don’t. But it’s usually us that they ask out, probably because sharing a girl is not their go-to scenario.” She was teasing, and Emma was glad of it. Having her sister talk about it all so casually made her feel less like a freak.

“So what’s your plan, oh scheming seductress?” Emma asked, her tone just as playful.

Rachel put a finger to her lips, then grinned. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket and scrolled through her contacts, punching Dean’s number and putting it to her ear as it rang.

“You have Dean’s number?”

Rachel shrugged. “He’s the hot one.” The phone connected, and Rachel smiled her flirtiest, despite the fact that the fellow on the other end couldn’t see it. “Dean, hey. Any chance you and Carter are free tonight? Em and I would love to see Lost Element at Jack Rabbit Tim’s with y’all.”

She raised her eyebrows at Emma as she listened to his response. “Great! See you at nine.” With a smirk, Rachel hung up, then took a small bow.

“Not sure you’re quite ready for taking bows yet, Rach. We’re going out with them, but that’s not necessarily helping me get them alone, you know?”

Rachel smiled a smug, close-lipped smile. “Nuh-uh. You’re going out with them. At eight-thirty, I’ll have just remembered that I have to pick up Kate at nine, right? And who knows, maybe I’ll feel bad and have to leave about halfway through the show. And – oops! I’ll take the car, which means you’ll have to afterparty with the fellas alone.” She repeated her bow, and this time Emma obliged, giving her a small round of applause.

“You are truly devious.”

Rachel basked in the praise. “Oh, please, it’s nothing. Now, what are you going to wear?”


When the Moores pulled up in their small black car, Carter was in the driver’s seat. Dean slipped out of the passenger seat and into the back, leaving the door open for Emma.

“Thanks,” she said.

“Uh… where’s your sister?” Dean asked, staring back at the front doors of their apartment building.

“She forgot that she had promised to pick up Kate for the show. She’ll meet us there.” Emma tried to fight the blush that threatened to burn her face to a crisp. Carter was eyeing her oddly, and she was sure he could see straight through their silly, bizarre plan.

But he didn’t comment, just nodded and pulled out of the parking lot. “You look great,” he said after a moment or two of dead silence in the car. He kept his eyes fixed on the road as he spoke.

“Thanks,” she murmured again.

“So,” Dean said from the backseat, leaning up so that his chin was on the seat back just over her shoulder, “whose date are you?”

Emma darted a surprised glance over her shoulder. “Oh – I…”

Carter laughed, and Dean joined in. Carter rescued her by saying, “Your sister wasn’t very clear on the phone, but I’d be happy to be your date this evening.” He took his right hand off the wheel and extended it to her with mock-formality. When she laid her hand in his with equally goofy courtliness, he grinned over at her.

“Guess that means I get the absentee,” Dean said, leaning back to sprawl across the backseat.

Emma squeezed Carter’s fingers and then let go so he had both hands for driving. She leaned her head back to speak to Dean. “That’s probably for the best. She might have been miffed if I took you – she thinks you’re the hot one.”

Both brothers laughed at that; except for an inch or so difference in their height and the slight variation in eye color, the two were so similar in appearance as to be indistinguishable from each other. In fact, in the dim light of the car, Emma wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart if she hadn’t seen them first in the brighter light outside her apartment building.

“So we’re seeing Lost Element? Is their stuff any good? I’ve never heard of them,” Carter said. He drove fast, but easily. He wasn’t racing anyone or cutting corners, he just clearly wanted to get where he was going.

Emma shrugged. “No idea. If it’s terrible, there’s always alcohol!” She was relaxing a little. The brothers were very easy to be around. She regretted that she and Rachel hadn’t spent more time with them in the past – although that might have complicated her fantasies somewhat.

“Hear, hear!” Dean said from the backseat.

When they pulled into the Jack Rabbit Tim’s parking lot, it was almost full. Scantily clad girls wove between the cars, making their way to the doors in clumps, sometimes with dates trailing behind.

Carter parked and Dean opened Emma’s door for her, handing her out like an old-fashioned gentleman. He smirked at his brother as Carter rounded the car and offered Emma his arm. izmit anal yapan escort They made an odd, lopsided row as they crossed the asphalt to the front doors.

It wasn’t until they were standing in line that Emma really paid attention to the way her date – dates? – looked. Carter looked effortlessly handsome in dark jeans and a simple dark grey polo. Dean was smoking hot in all black. She stared as long as she thought she could get away with it, admiring them in the blue and yellow light from the bar.

When they approached the girl taking money at the door, Carter guided her forward with a hand on the small of her back and she shivered happily.

Inside was all noise and darkness and the press of people. The band wasn’t up yet, so house music pounded and pulsed through the room. Emma spotted Rachel standing at a tall table with Kate and shimmied through the crowd toward them. Catching her wrist so he wouldn’t lose her, Carter followed, waving for Dean.

Rachel greeted the two brothers with a toothy smile and wave; for Emma, she had that smug, tight-lipped grin. They shouted pleasantries at each other over the music, and Dean took up a place next to Rachel. Emma stood next to him, Carter on her other side.

Emma’s twin shooed the boys toward the bar, gesturing with one hand that they needed to get the drinks. With her other hand, she snatched Emma to her side, her eyes wide with excitement and impatience.

“Well?” she half-shouted into Emma’s ear. “How’s it going so far?”

“Fine, I guess.” Emma glanced over at Kate, but the other girl was chatting animatedly with a couple from another table. “They’re so hot!”

Rachel scanned the bar so she could eye the brothers again, then nodded. “Yeah they are! Ooh, you’re gonna get it!” She started dancing in her place, waggling her hips suggestively and pointing at Emma with both hands.

“Stop that,” Emma said, slapping her sister’s hands down. “So what’s the plan for the rest of the night?”

Rachel was still dancing in place, rotating around to the house music with complete unconcern for being the only one dancing. She leaned back in to say, “I want to hear the first few songs. Kate was just telling me she’s got a ton of homework to do, so she’s the perfect person to drive me home when I start feeling under the weather.” Rachel smiled wickedly. “I don’t think Dean will be too disappointed. He was watching your ass pretty happily when you were making your way over here.”

Emma laughed, shaking her head. She didn’t reply, as the boys had returned with drinks. Emma took a long swig of her beer so she wouldn’t have to answer Carter’s questioning look.

“Just in time,” Rachel said as she snagged the beer Dean offered. The band was filing onto the stage, fiddling noisily with their instruments.

The band was pretty good, and lively. A few people tried to start a mosh pit in front of the low stage, but it didn’t take off. Emma relaxed, sipping her beer and enjoying the music. About three songs into the set, Rachel clutched her head very dramatically.

“Ugh,” she moaned. “This music is loud.”

Dean reached out a hand but didn’t quite touch her. “You ok?”

Rachel increased the volume of her complaints. “Man, I don’t feel so great. This music is giving me a major headache. Think I may have to head home!” She turned to Kate. “Hey, I’m sorry I dragged you out! I know you have a ton of homework.”

Kate’s face was creased with concern. “Hey, it’s ok! Do you need me to drive you home? You are my ride.”

“Oh, would you? That would be so great of you.” Rachel gathered her things off the table, took one last swig of her beer, then vanished with a wave, Kate close behind.

Dean looked surprised and a little confused. “Well, that was – abrupt,” he said to his brother and Emma. He laughed. “Was it something I said?”

Emma watched her sister go with a sigh. She could have at least made it seem like she wasn’t trying to bail. She put a hand on Dean’s shoulder. “I doubt it. She gets whims.”

“She what?”

Emma leaned closer and shouted, “She gets whims. Once she’s decided something, no one can say anything to stop her.”

“Ah.” Dean glanced back toward the door through which Rachel had left, then shrugged and turned back to Emma and Carter. “You’re not going to bail on us, are you?”

Emma grinned. “Not a chance.” She raised her beer bottle and clinked it with his as he laughed.

As if to reassert his presence, Carter rested his hand on her back again and reached around her to add his own bottle to the celebration before all three of them drained what was left of their drinks.

They returned to their quiet enjoyment of the music, occasionally making loud commentary and cracking jokes. Emma’s face was flushed and her cheeks were sore from smiling; she could not have imagined the night better.

As they joked and talked, Carter seemed to be subtly trying to steer her closer to himself. Dean wasn’t exactly pulling her attention away, but he was making it clear that he didn’t want to be left out of the fun just because his half of the date had left. There was a tension between the brothers that grew as the night swung on. Emma began to realize that getting literally between them would be harder than just presenting the opportunity; they could barely share a single casual evening with her.

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